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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Will he or won’t he? Joe Biden has not yet said if he’s running for president, and the lack of an official statement is igniting a frenzy of speculation.

Although sources had said earlier this year that he would make a decision by August 1, that day has come and gone, though DraftBiden – the PAC building up support on his behalf, yet without his backing – and others are eagerly awaiting his announcement. DraftBiden is slowly picking up new staffers, as some local politicians begin endorsing the VP.

Insiders say that Biden is weighing a bid, and that his son Beau, who died in May, had urged him to run.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Biden could reveal his intentions in September, possibly around Labor Day, but that he might put off making an announcement until it was absolutely necessary to do so.

It’s possible, too, that Biden is doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work to gear up for a run. There have been some reports that his team has met with potential donors.

But political watchdogs say the signs indicate that he’s not running. As NBC News put it, “[I]f you wanted the true tell of his intentions, look no further than the fact that if he went to Iowa or New Hampshire today for political travel, he’d have no money to pay for it. The reality: Biden hasn’t hired a single 2016-related staffer and has no ’16 fundraising apparatus (an exploratory committee, SuperPAC, 527) to pay for political activity.”

David Axelrod, a former senior advisor to Barack Obama and one of the architects of his 2008 campaign strategy, agrees. He told the Today show this morning that he just doesn’t see Biden beating the Hillary Clinton machine: “I would not [advise him to run], because I know what it takes to put a presidential campaign together and it is late in the game,” he said.

One of his biggest cards in a race against Clinton is his reputation for honesty and sincerity.

Clinton, for all her money and power, does not inspire the same level of trust that Biden does, and stories about how she handled her email as Secretary of State have only increased skepticism. Biden, despite sometimes being known as a pop-culture meme machine, has widespread credibility and the sheen of authenticity on his side.

If Biden decides to run in 2016, it will be his third time. He tried in 1988 and again 20 years later, running against Barack Obama – and Hillary Clinton.

Photo: VP to P, possibly, maybe. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

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